The PGA Tour has suspended the 17 members who’re competing within the inaugural LIV Golf Worldwide Sequence occasion, it introduced Thursday.
Gamers who resigned their membership earlier than beginning the LIV Golf occasion being held outdoors London that started Thursday are additionally now not eligible to compete in tour occasions or the Presidents Cup. Amongst these now banned from tour occasions are six-time main champion Phil Mickelson, two-time main champion Dustin Johnson and longtime Ryder Cup contributors Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia.
“These gamers have made their selection for their very own financial-based causes,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan wrote in a memo to the tour’s membership. “However they cannot demand the identical PGA TOUR membership advantages, concerns, alternatives and platform as you. That expectation disrespects you, our followers and our companions. You’ve got made a special selection, which is to abide by the Match Rules you agreed to once you achieved the dream of incomes a PGA TOUR card and — extra importantly — to compete as a part of the preeminent group on this planet of professional golf.”
Monahan wrote that any gamers who participate in future LIV Golf occasions will face the identical punishment.
Mickelson, requested how he felt about Monahan’s memo, paused for 10 seconds as he weighed what he was going to say earlier than answering, “Any PGA Tour issues, I am not going to debate it publicly presently.”
Poulter, in the meantime, expressed frustration with the PGA Tour’s choice and stated he would battle the suspension.
“In fact I will attraction. It is mindless,” Poulter stated. “I’ve at all times had the flexibility to play golf all world wide. What’s improper with that? I have never performed something improper. What number of which methods do you wish to minimize that? I’ve do not know many alternative occasions I’ve performed world wide on completely different circuits. I’ve performed the Asian Tour, the Japanese Tour. I’ve performed in China, in South Africa. I’ve performed in all places, the sport of golf that I like. They are going take that chance away? That is disappointing.”
The memo stated gamers who compete in LIV occasions are ineligible to take part on the PGA Tour or every other excursions it sanctions, together with the Korn Ferry Tour, PGA Tour Champions, PGA Tour Canada and PGA Tour Latinoamerica.
“I’m sure our followers and companions — who’re certainly uninterested in all this discuss of cash, cash and more cash — will proceed to be entertained and compelled by the world-class competitors you show every week, the place there are true penalties for each shot you’re taking and your rightful place in historical past everytime you attain that elusive winner’s circle,” Monahan wrote.
“You’re the PGA TOUR, and this second is about what we stand for: the PGA TOUR membership as an entire. It is about lifting up those that select to not solely profit from the TOUR, however who additionally play an integral function in constructing it. I do know you’re with us, and vice versa. Our companions are with us, too. The truth that your former TOUR colleagues cannot say the identical must be telling.”
LIV Golf, in an announcement, referred to as the PGA Tour’s punishment “vindictive” and stated it “deepens the divide between the Tour and its members.”
“It is troubling that the Tour, a corporation devoted to creating alternatives for golfers to play the sport, is the entity blocking golfers from enjoying,” LIV Golf stated. “This definitely isn’t the final phrase on this subject. The period of free company is starting as we’re proud to have a full discipline of gamers becoming a member of us in London, and past.”
The PGA Tour introduced the self-discipline lower than 30 minutes after 17 of its members or former members who resigned from the tour previously week hit their opening tee pictures within the inaugural LIV Golf occasion at Centurion Membership outdoors London.
Two different previous main winners, 2020 U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed, have additionally reached agreements with LIV Golf to compete in future tournaments, sources informed ESPN on Wednesday. LIV Golf officers have additionally had ongoing discussions with different gamers, together with Rickie Fowler and Jason Kokrak.
Johnson and Garcia are among the many gamers who’ve resigned from the tour, together with 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and Kevin Na. The gamers hoped to keep away from punishment from the tour by quitting.
Graeme McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champion, stated he resigned as a PGA Tour member about 30 minutes earlier than teeing off Thursday. He stated he did not really feel he ought to should resign but in addition anticipated the punishment that was handed down.
“The PGA Tour has to do what they really feel is important. I do not suppose it is wholesome for the game,” McDowell stated. “We’re right here as a result of we imagine we’re impartial contractors and we imagine must be allowed to compete and play the place we would like everywhere in the world. … We have now a compelling choice, which isn’t agreeable to the largest excursions on this planet. It is disappointing, however there may be not lots we will do about it. As gamers, we’re right here understanding the implications of what might lay forward of us.”
Monahan stated the 10 gamers who resigned their PGA Tour memberships can be faraway from the FedEx Cup factors standings after this week’s RBC Canadian Open. He wrote that “these gamers won’t be permitted to play in PGA Tournaments as a non-member by way of a sponsor exemption” or every other eligibility class.
“This week, the RBC Canadian Open is a shining instance of what you’ve got created with the PGA Tour: a star-studded discipline, a dedicated sponsor, sold-out hospitality choices, report crowds and a world broadcast distribution,” Monahan wrote. “These parts are a part of the Tour’s DNA, constructed by the likes of Jack and Arnie, furthered by Tiger and numerous others — whose legacies are inextricably linked, with one another and with the PGA Tour. This collective legacy cannot be purchased or offered.”
LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, a former world No. 1 golfer and two-time winner of The Open, has informed ESPN previously that the brand new circuit was ready to assist its gamers battle the PGA Tour’s place in court docket. Norman stated he had gamers who have been keen to take part in a authorized battle.
“I can solely converse on data given to me by our authorized crew, and I’ve an especially proficient authorized crew in antitrust and anticompetitive legal guidelines, and we imagine we’re in the precise place,” Norman stated. “We imagine the gamers are impartial contractors and have a proper to go play wherever they wish to go play.”
On Might 10, the PGA Tour denied conflicting-event releases to gamers who had requested them. Monahan had informed gamers a number of occasions that they might face punishment for competing within the LIV occasions with out releases.
The primary LIV Golf event in the USA is scheduled for June 30-July 2 at Pumpkin Ridge in Portland, Oregon.
The LIV Golf sequence options 54-hole occasions, shotgun begins, no cuts and a crew format. The seven regular-season occasions — a slate that additionally consists of stops in Bedminster, New Jersey; Boston; and Chicago — are providing $25 million purses, the richest in golf historical past. The winner will get $four million, and the last-place finisher will get $120,000. A season-ending crew championship, Oct. 27-30 at Trump Nationwide Doral in Miami, has a $50 million purse.
In response to reviews, prime gamers additionally acquired signing bonuses from LIV Golf price greater than $100 million.
Schwartzel took the lead Thursday after posting a 5-under 65, with Hennie Du Plessis one again at four beneath. Mickelson and Johnson have been tied for seventh after every capturing a 1-under 69.
A longtime PGA Tour participant who wasn’t approached about enjoying within the LIV Golf sequence informed ESPN that he agreed that the tour needed to punish the gamers to forestall others from defecting.
“We will find yourself in a worse place as a result of these guys wished a fast cash seize to go play in an exhibition,” the participant stated. “The [Saudis] are going to lose curiosity ultimately. I believe all of us have somewhat little bit of a accountability to depart the sport higher than after we acquired right here, and repping for a shady authorities with a questionable report is not doing that.”
LIV Golf is supported by the Public Funding Fund of Saudi Arabia, which is managed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Salman has been accused of quite a few human rights violations, together with the homicide of Washington Publish journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
4-time main winner Rory McIlroy, talking at a information convention on the RBC Canadian Open in Toronto on Wednesday, stated he was involved about golf’s future.
“I believe it is a disgrace that it should fracture the sport,” McIlroy stated. “I believe if something, the skilled recreation is the window store into golf. If most of the people are confused about who’s enjoying the place and what event’s on this week and, OK, he would not get into these occasions, it simply turns into so complicated. I believe all the things must attempt to change into extra cohesive, and I believe it was on a reasonably good trajectory till this occurred.”
ESPN’s Kevin Van Valkenburg contributed to this report.